Friday, September 24, 2010

Time grows on trees, right?

So in my last blog I said "time is the issue".. that hasn't changed, but something that also doesn't change the fact that I desire to game at all times.  So I went to Best Buy today -- hey!  I had $15 in rewards to cash in.

I desperately wanted to get Reach.  And...I didn't.  (ducks behind a variety of strong devices to stop any and all projectiles from the hating public)  I knew that I wouldn't be on Xbox until December-ish and so I just couldn't justify the $60 right now.  I will get it though.  Pink Master Chief on a jetpack with hearts and confetti shooting out of my armor is just too much for this girl to resist.

But I did make a purchase that I am extremely excited about: the new Professor Layton!  I just can't get enough of that guy in his tall hat.  I'm not entirely sure I ever "finished" the last game though, so I'll have to get it out and dust it off too.  Which means I'll either have to get another DS (preferably the bright pink [or white] DSi) or I'll have to distract Kiera with ice cream and tv.  Either way.  Anyways I'm all over the place here.  Let's just say I'm excited to play more puzzle games.

Another purchase was made that I am extremely excited about: my mom got Kiera her first video game for her upcoming birthday present.  (Don't tell her!  It's a secret.)  It just excited me that Kiera is awesome enough at games to warrant getting her own games now.  We picked out Carnival Games for her on the DS.  She loves the mini games on Mario so much, I think she'll really dig Carnival Games.

Do you remember the first game you got that was actually yours?  My first system was the original Gameboy (the big, gray brick).  I remember having Mario which I loved, and I believe a Tom & Jerry game?  A super favorite was Super Mario and the Six Golden Coins.  Sooo fun.  My next system was the NES, and I had the gold Zelda, Super Mario Bros, and Bugs Bunny Birthday Bash.  (I had more titles than just these listed, but these were special to me.  So fun!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So here's the problem....

I'm just going to lay it out there: the issue is time.

I wanted to say "as a woman".... but I don't know if that is unfair to my fellow ladies, but I feel like, as a woman, I am always putting myself and what I want to do on the back burner.  For me that means I don't make the time to game.  And oh how I miss it.

This is partially an apology blog for me not being around much...Lucky you, readers, you have Debbie totally keeping Game On alive.  And she is an amazing gamer and blogger.

So time.  I let everything else come between  me and gaming.  It is a priority, but it is low on the totem pole.  Like right now my Xbox is living with a friend, but I have my a box.  I haven't even taken the time in the last 3 months now to set the poor thing up.  I can hear its weeping now.  I've all but given up on getting the DS back out of my daughter's sticky little hands.  All I have left is the PC, and play it I do.  Simple Facebook games (I'm looking at you, My Tribe), are what seem to get a lot of my "game time" these days, mostly because I can play them and put them back down in the span of 5 minutes.  I also spend a fair amount of time WoW-ing, but I have promised you in the past that I wouldn't make this into another WoW blog.  There are hundreds of them, and, while some are horrid, there are some good ones and I don't even want to get into that competition.

At any rate, I miss my Xbox.  I miss playing.  A pink controller just came out for the PS3 and I had a longing for some game time.  I just hope you know that I'm not sitting here gaming and not telling you about it, or that I've given up all together.

So what keeps you from gaming?  And what should I do!?  Do I make it a priority above all else?  My kids are old enough to feed themselves, right? ;-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

GI's Editor-in-Chief: Massive Tool or Most Massive Tool ?

Lindsey feels an instant rush when she hears the beloved chime when a new achievement unlocks. My sister Lumpwad and I both brag about the constant growth our "Xbox penises" in direct correlation to our gamerscore. So I was less than thrilled when I opened one of the latest Game Informer magazines and read an article denouncing achievements.

The article was written by Editor-in-Chief Andy. He described starting a whole new account and how liberating it was. While that sentiment may be justifiable, his following arguments blew me away. He talked about how achievements shouldn't be in a game at all. That they are a superficial way of keeping score and most people boost or cheat to get achievements. There was definitely an implication in the article that if you go out of your way for an achievement, that you are basically an idiot and playing for the wrong reasons.

I completely disagree with this logic. Since the beginning of games, video or otherwise, people have wanted to achieve a score, level, or other established definition of accomplishment. While a lot of games are driven by stories, others thrive on score. How big is your kill streak ? What level did you reach ? How quickly did you finish the race ? All of these are what make the game fun and competitive. Without the concept of reaching a number, what would the point of playing online multiplayer be other than just blindly shooting ? His argument is akin to saying that Basketball players shouldn't care about counting baskets, they should just make shots over and over.

The Xbox gamerscore is a way for people to keep track of their games. They can show off what they accomplish or have completely finished. Its just like any other game, you get an unexplainable thrill from reaching a number. Of course we all acknowledge that the number is without actual value. We know it doesn't make us a better person or provide us with money or other goods. But it makes us happy and that is all that matters. After all, who doesn't love having bragging rights ?

So Andy McNamara, get off your soap box. You are not better than us for not caring about achievements. You have not reached a zen like state, you are not cooler than us, and you are not more of a "true gamer" than the rest of the gaming community. You are just some guy with a pen that feels the need to bitch and feel superior. Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Dear John Letter to Borderlands

Dear Borderlands,

You are an insolent, little tease. I have spent hours pouring my heart and soul into our relationship and you do nothing but spit in my face. When I tried to complete my mission in the Crimson Armory, you glitched and moved my target person to whereabouts unknown. When I tried to acquire the radar for my sweet, personalized ride, you channeled a bug and dropped it below the floor and under the map making it impossible to reach.

I remember the time I accidentally failed a mission in the Knoxx DLC. You let everyone else who has failed go back and try again. But when I screwed up, and you "accidentally" lock the doors to the vault making it impossible to complete not just one but TWO missions ! You know very well that if I don't complete those missions that I won't be able to get all of my achievements.

How dare you suggest that the only way I fix all this is by starting all over ? I don't want to continue on playthrough 2. And I don't want to start from the beginning with a totally new character. Your constant glitching is a major issue but you don't want to listen. You could create fail-safes to prevent these things from happening. Or even release a patch for the forums full of people you have deceived. But you are too busy using me for my hard earned money by selling me bugged DLC.

I don't know. My friends say I should walk away; that you're no good for me. Maybe they're right. I'm done being the only one putting all the effort into this relationship. You're a bastard, Borderlands and I hate you.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Wouldn't Want the Game of the Year ???

A "Game of the Year" or GotY release, is a re-released copy of a game that has received the award or title of "Game of the Year" from one well known publication or another. They frequently include all DLC and add-ons since its original release. Games like Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Batman: Arkham Asylum have released this ever-economical version of the games. My question is: "Why aren't more publishers doing this?"

I can see that for some games, the concept of re-releasing a title might not make the most sense economically. Maybe there was only one or two small pieces of DLC added to the title. Perhaps the companies are never completely sure that they are done adding content. Or worse case scenario, the game might not have been a very good seller in the first place. There is also the issue that the game may have never actually received the "Game of the Year" title from a well-known publication. But if thats the case, then release it under some other title like "All Our Shit in One Box" edition.

I would really like to see some major blockbuster games have disc-sets that included all the map packs and extra upgrades. They could even go so far as to put in the little things that come with pre-orders like certain outfits or exclusive weapons. If its a year or two later, who cares if all the goodies have been given away ? But I would like to pick up Halo 3 and have all 8000 map packs on a second disc. It would be so freakin' handy ! I can't tell you how many times my hard drive has tweaked and I have had to re-download all the new maps. And I know I'm not the only one.

This is really just a whiny rant. I don't know what it takes to put these games together for re-release. Maybe its the most expensive thing ever. Maybe they are just lazy. I would think it would be a great way for them to drain even more money from me. No matter what the reason, I am a crabby gamer and I hate not getting what I want. And dammit, I want more GotY editions !

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Video Game Life: Now and Then

I was recently talking to an old college friend of mine, someone I haven't seen in like 8 years. Sure there is a random email here and there over Facebook, but no serious interactions. When we finally had a lengthy conversation last week, she was really surprised and demanded an explanation as to when I got into "this whole gaming thing". I was so shocked by this question, I didn't know what to say.

Ive always been a gamer. We were a Nintendo family for sure, but I also loved PC gaming. I have always had one console or another hooked up and played regularly, so how did this get by her ? I realized that it all had to do with networking and socializing. Before, I played a game and that was all there was to it. When Lindsey and I were dominating at Game Cube's SSX3 back in college, we didn't have people to team up with or trash talk to. We just hung out and passed the controller.

Now I talk to people while I play, join clans, read and write blogs, and there is this massive minute to minute community of information and friends. Half of my FB friends list is comprised of people I have never met in real life, but I converse with almost everyday. And its really noticeable that I talk about games. When you don't know someone in real life, you rely on wall posts, status updates, and all sorts of dorky means of communicating with people you wouldn't normally have access to.

Another aspect to consider is that this whole "nerdy is cool" thing is still new. I would have been socially tormented in school if I told people that I spent almost all my free time at home playing Doom. I never would have survived classmates knowing my attraction to Flight Simulator. There was no "geek chic" mentality. Being "alternative" meant dressing like Kirk Cobain and that's about it. So unless you had secret gaming friends (which thankfully I did), it wasn't something that was openly discussed.

So with all this explained, my dear friend Jett had a profound and moving response of "Oh. Guess I never noticed". Looking back at things, it makes sense. But it did give me the chance to sit back and appreciate how much gaming has progressed, not just technically but also in its social and personal relevance.